Bugged Thoughts…about multiple DVD releases…and greed…

Like many other film fans out there, we’re amassing quite a collection of DVDs. I’m usually in line to pick the ones I can’t wait for up on opening day. Come next Tuesday, i’ll be heading for my local Borders or Newbury Comics for Juno and The Final Season, and next Tuesday week for Cloverfield.

But once you’re at the store to get them…that’s turning into quite an adventure.

Why?

Because chances are good there will be several different DVD’s out with different configurations, that’s why.

First you have to check and make sure that the DVD you’re getting is widescreen, unless you like the fullscreen ones (why ANYONE these days would still prefer the fullscreen ones I have no idea…heh heh heh…)

Then, you have to check which disc you’re buying. Sure it’s easy enough to find the TITLE, but finding the right grouping…well, now that’s ANOTHER matter entirely…

Let me use a fictional movie as an example…and believe me, sadly this is more real than fiction…

I want to go to the store – lets say it’s a big box mart of some kind – to pick up the movie Metalhead.

I walk in the store, and chances are good i’m gonna find FIVE OR SIX DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the same damn movie!

Let’s see…there’s the single-disc bare-bones DVD, for $17.99 on sale.

Then there’s the two-disc version with some behind the scenes extras for $24.99 on sale

But Wait…there’s the two disc, "Special Edition" version, with different extras and both widescreen and fullscreen versions of the movie for $27.99 on sale

And lookatthis…there’s the Store Exclusive edition with a third bonus disc of interviews and stuff from the Metalhead website and a lenticular cover photo for $34.99

And don’t forget, there’s also the Fullscreen single disc edition, the full screen double disc version..you get the idea.

And now, there’s the Blu-ray edition for $42.99…

AARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

Why do the studios have to be so darn greedy?

I think it’s highly unfair to have to buy the same damn movie three or four times to get all the features. It stinks that the studios to this to consumers. There should be just TWO versions of each type of movie – A cheaper, barebones single disc for those who aren’t interested in extras, and a special edition with ALL THE EXTRAS – and maybe both aspect ratios of the film –  for a slightly higher price.  THAT’S IT!!!

Two different special editions and a store specific edition – this is getting really annoying, and I won’t put up with it now, or EVER. The only time I have EVER bent into this was when BestBuy shipped me the WRONG edition of the Across The Universe soundtrack CD, and I waited too long to return it, so I had to buy the double disc later.

I DO NOT do this with DVD’s and never will…

Wait a minute, I tell a small Lie….I found a "Blockbuster"-exclusive edition of Lords Of Dogtown which had an extra disc and did buy it…through E-bay for about 1/5 the original price. And it turns out I had the supposedly "exclusive" stuff already…having downloaded it from the LOD website…so I wasted my money in the long run and will NEVER do it again.

I think it’s high time the consumers start putting their foot down with this practice. I’m really DREADING the Cloverfield release, for although only one "official" version has been announced, I know of at least three different retailers that are already advertising "store exclusive" versions of the discs, which means the fans get screwed AGAIN…

We need to start sending a message to the studios that we’re MAD AS HELL AND WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

(Gee, that sounds familiar…where have I heard that before? Can’t think of it…)

It’s BAD ENOUGH that the studios stopped including those informative little booklets with the DVDs around 2005 or so, because those were really nice to have.  But i’ve learned to live with no booklets – and you can usually find what you’re looking for that was in said booklets by going to the website for the movie in question.

But this constant shilling for money by the studios by offering different versions with different extras? This crap has to STOP NOW!

Don’t get me wrong here – i’m NOT complaining about special extended versions, anniversary issue reissue discs, or the excellent Criterion Collection types of releases here. These are fine, often come several years down the road, and often are worth getting for the enhanced quality and treasure trove of previously unknown or unavailable extras. What I’m addressing here are the same day (or within six month) releases of the same movie with no extra footage and a variety of extras that very from disc to disc.

If there’s a new cut of the movie involved, such as with Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, that’s cool with me up to a point. The point for that particular series was the releases of the combo packs in 2005 where both the theatrical version and the extended version were put on one disc and coded to pull up the different versions when each was selected. Did we REALLY need those? No.

I think we should start voting with our pockets, and force the studios and the stores to knock it off. You do that by buying ONLY the two configurations mentioned above, and then writing the studios and stores and telling them that you saw the other editions but won’t pay to buy the film twice just for additional extras, but you would have paid a couple bucks more for all the extras in ONE SET. Sooner or later, they’ll get the idea…if it’s not filling their coffers, they won’t do it anymore…

Ok, well, obviously, it’s HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS…of COURSE they’ll keep doing it…but they’ll lose money every time they do…and eventually they WILL have no choice but to listen to consumers wishes…

Well…I can DREAM, Can’t I?  Sheesh!